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Apr 27, 2011

Saat Khoon Maaf

Priyanka Chopra must have a very good manager or the girl has got brains. Her last few outings as a leading heroine could be considered as paranormal phenomena in a male-centric Bollywood. I go by the Merriam Webster definition of ‘paranormal’ – something that’s not scientifically explainable. Or how else could you explain Fashion, What’s your Rashee or this one I am attempting to review – 7 Khoon Maaf.

Fashion won her the national award for best actress, maybe she didn’t have to do much acting in that role being a fashion model herself, it was a strong performance nevertheless. Then comes What’s your Rashee and 7 Khoon Maaf – two movies in which the strong female character had to carry the bulk of the film and to my surprise Priyanka shouldered the burden competently.

I am not a big fan of Miss India being a platform for launching future Bollywood leading ladies, much like using the Kalathilakam award as a short-cut to becoming a Malayalam movie heroine. Whether I like it or not, both these have served as vehicles of entry to filmdom for many of our heroines.

When Priyanka Chopra launched her Bollywood career courtesy of  her Miss India title, there were several others attempting the same route – Yukta Mookhey, Lara Dutta and Celina Jeitley to name a few. I had thought Priyanka was not the typical Bollywood beauty and therefore will be ousted in no time. But time and Priyanka’s career management has proven me wrong and here we are at 7 Khoon Maaf.Adapted from a Ruskin Bond story. Susanna’s Seven Husbands and directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, 7 Khoon Maaf produces a slew of adjectives in my mind – in no particular order they are - odd, sensual, imaginative, remarkable, different, dark, comical and interesting.

With Vishal Bharadwaj you can always expect a movie a little off the beaten path, usually adapted from a literary work. It is nice to see Ruskin Bond’s work in Bollywood. But the one who really hit the jackpot is definitely the lady who has occupied most real estate in this review – Ms.Chopra. She gets to act with six different leading men – ranging from Neil Nitin Mukesh to Naseeruddin Shah.

Much of the charm of the movie is its story, the anticipation of who and what will the background of Susanna’s next husband and the next husband and the next.Like other Vishal Bharadwaj films, it is not what the mainstream Hindi audience expects and therefore I believe there will be more who won’t like this movie and than those who will. It didn’t do well at the box-office, had Mr.Bharadwaj been more money-conscious he’d have cast ShahRukh Khan as one of the seven, but then again would he agree to be 1 in 7 when he is really number 1 and only?